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Foster Huggins uncoils memories of Windward Islands schools’ games

Foster Huggins uncoils memories of Windward Islands schools’ games


When Foster Huggins was selected as part of the St Vincent Grammar School’s team to the Windward Islands schools’ games in 1954, never did he envisage that that he would have such fond memories of the experience.{{more}}

Huggins, who travelled to St Lucia that year, remembers like yesterday his sojourn.

He recalled having to travel by boat to compete against other top boys’ schools from Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada.

“The experience on the boat itself was a challenge for many of the boys, but for me growing up on the leeward side of the island and [being] accustomed to the sea, [it] did not pose much of a problem to me personally”, Huggins recalled.

He noted, however, that in those days, the games involved football, track and field and cricket.

“Like today, in those days, you had to be good, at least two disciplines in order to make the team, which was a great achievement in itself …. And to make the team was many boys’ dream then”, Huggins said.

Huggins reminisced on the fierce, but keen competition which existed for the available places on the school team.

He noted that the games, which in those days were hosted every two years, served as the launch pad for several persons who, as adults, were outstanding sportsmen.

Huggins named the late Alfie Roberts, who was the first Vincentian to play test cricket for the West Indies, when he did so in 1956, against New Zealand in Auckland.

But Huggins values most of all the lifelong friends he gained from that single outing in St Lucia, just over 59 years ago.

“On that trip, I met lots of persons from the other three islands and we have forged bonds up to this day…. I know of relationships, then marriages which have come out of that same visit to St Lucia,” he stated.

Research reveals that the inter-schools tournament commenced in 1922 through J.F. Blackman of St Mary’s College, St Lucia and the then headmaster of St Vincent Grammar School, F.W. Reeves.

Reports say that the first three tournaments, held in 1922, 1923, and 1924, saw the participation of St Lucia and St Vincent. One year later, Grenada joined the fray.

Dominica, which was then part of the Leeward Islands grouping, constitutionally became a part of the Windward Islands in 1940; however, events of World War II caused a suspension of the tournament.

According to historical data, it was not until 1947 that all four islands, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenada, participated in the tournament.

Up until 1950, the tournament was held annually, until rising costs forced the tournament to be a biennial one, for the next two decades.

Struck by rising costs of travel, the tournament was shelved for fifteen years, before reverting to an annual affair.

Over time, the tournament went through several changes, including the introduction of basketball and volleyball, for both males and females, and netball, with cricket giving way.

Held on a rotational basis among the islands, St Vincent and the Grenadines will host the 2013 edition, set for July 27 to August 4. (RT)